Lighter gingerbread

Lighter gingerbread

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(11 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 40 mins


Cuts into 21 pieces

This dark and sticky ginger cake is made healthier with naturally sweet dates, buttermilk and plenty of cinnamon and fresh ginger

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per piece

  • kcal116
  • fat4.1g
  • saturates0.4g
  • carbs17.5g
  • sugars8.6g
  • fibre0.7g
  • protein2g
  • salt0.2g
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  • 140g dried pitted whole dates preferably Medjool, chopped into small pieces



    Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits - it's thought that they were a staple part of…

  • 75ml rapeseed oil, plus a few drops for greasing
    Rapeseed oil

    Rapeseed oil

    If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

  • 75g black treacle
  • 50g maple syrup
    Maple syrup

    Maple syrup

    may-pul sir-rup

    The rising spring sap of a number of varieties of maple tree

  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 large egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 175ml buttermilk
    Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



    There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar


  1. Put the dates in a small bowl and pour over 125ml of boiling water. Leave to cool for 30 mins. Lightly oil a 28 x 19 x 3cm traybake tin, then line the base with baking parchment.

  2. Meanwhile, put the oil, black treacle, maple syrup and freshly grated ginger in a bowl and beat together with a fork to mix well. Set aside. Beat the egg in a small bowl and stir in the buttermilk. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, cinnamon and sugar – rub the mixture between your fingers to break down any lumpy bits of sugar. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

  3. Blend the dates and their liquid to a thick purée in a small food processor. Pour the egg, the dates and the treacle mixture into the bowl with the flour. Stir together briefly with a wooden spoon just until well mixed – the mixture will be soft like a thick batter. Pour it into the lined tin, gently level the mixture and bake for 40-45 mins. To test if it’s done, insert a skewer in the centre – if the skewer comes out clean with no uncooked mixture on it, and the cake feels firm but springy to the touch, it should be done.

  4. Leave in the tin for a few mins before removing to a wire rack, peeling off the parchment and leaving to cool completely. If you can wait, wrap it well in parchment, then foil. Leave for a day before cutting, as it will become stickier – it will keep moist for 3-4 days.

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Comments, questions and tips

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21st Oct, 2019
I would NOT turn this out while still hot as it just breaks which is gutting. Bad idea. Leave it longer in the tin until it is firmer, then turn out.
kaelangridge's picture
22nd Apr, 2019
Followed the recipe exactly and unfortunately did not rise well! Don't usually have this issue with baking so not sure what I did wrong considering the number of success stories below :( Ah well, stodgy cake is delicious as a pudding with custard!
19th Feb, 2017
Delicious light moist gingerbread. Couldn't find buttermilk anywhere so used 3 parts fat free natural yogurt to 1 part skimmed milk. Also added handful of chopped crystallised ginger to batter. Will certainly make this again.
19th Dec, 2016
This is really nice. Very light and moist. I didn't have fresh ginger so I blitzed some crystallised ginger. Didn't have buttermilk so dropped some lemon juice into my blue top. Really tasty
14th Mar, 2016
Amazing and so easy. Made this for our tea yesterday and served with cream and some warmed ginger conserve oh my word what a pud. Had to put it in the freezer to stop us eating it all. Delicious
22nd Dec, 2015
This is such a lovely moist cake and really tastes delicious. Making it again after getting so many compliments. Definitely bake this!
10th Oct, 2015
Really easy recipie. I didn't have buttermilk so used fat free greek yogurt mixed with water. Tasty cake and we will be trying it with custard too ( fat free obviously)
MB seastar
17th Mar, 2019
What could I use instead of dates? I don't normally have dates in the house.
goodfoodteam's picture
20th Mar, 2019
Thanks for your question. Dates are integral to this recipe so we'd suggest trying one of our other ginger cake recipes, for example, this parkin: Or there are more to choose here:
MB seastar
4th Mar, 2019
If you can't find buttermilk - I have never seen it - replace with milk and add a squeeze of lemon.
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